Thursday, May 2, 2013

Redlands Art Prize at the National Art School - 2 May

So there is no let off in prize season over in the art world and this week we are back to the National Art School to check out the Redlands Art Prize.  Their angle is to award both an established and an emerging artist prize (although the prize money is not similar, $25k to the established and $10k to the emerging).  The other twist is that once the established artists are invited to participate they each get to nominate an emerging artist to join the society.  Did they design that system to mirror private school life (where the older kids bestow patronage on the frats) or was it just a happy accident?  Who knows, on to the show!

This show was an eduction last year and is again.  You would think for someone who averages about a show a week and reads a fair bit I would've heard of more of these people.  I did see some familiar sights, recognising Todd Robinson's plaster balloons from galerie pompom and Cigdem Aydemir's signature burqa video work.  Her entry "Bombshell" which made like Marilyn Monroe over the subway grate, but with a huge black burqa, won the emerging prize tonight (and got some good press).  She took my 3 points with her highly commended by the judges video from the John Fries memorial prize last year.  This work is a little slicker in terms of production but I think I liked the swing better.  Both are great.  I liked TV Moore's photo 'Moon Plank Still Life' which used that great Mr Squiggle trick of turning the image upside down (also very appropriate given Norman Hetherington, aka Mr Squiggle himself, was a NAS alum).  This also played to a cardinal rule of photography - print it big.  At 180 x 220cm this was a whopper.  As people get used to these sizes the emerging artists of tomorrow will just have to keep printing bigger and bigger.  I reckon 360 x 440cm will be a standard gallery size in a few years! Andrew Liversidge, who is repped by emerging gallery hotspot the Commercial, has a great text work entered called 'Things that are the same are the same everywhere' (see image below).  Simple, graphic, a little thought provoking.  I loved it.  Other highlights included Tom Nicholson's 'Comparative Monument (Palestine)' (selected image top) where the artist went and photographed 9 separate war monuments around Melbourne which pay tribute to Australian soldiers who have served in Palestine.  The artist was commenting on how the scene of battle for the Australians, Beersheeba (you should remember it from the movie The Lighthorsemen, and if you haven't seen the movie then John Howard would like you to tear up your passport because you are unAustralian) was once in Palestine and is now in Israel.  Quite current affairs.  I didn't mind the big winner, Callum Morton's, piece 'Cover up #1' but it was only when I got home and read the catalogue that I realised it was a 3D resin sculpture of a covered up work.  On first view it looked like a real painting covered under fabric.  Oh the mimetic realism! I am probably using that term incorrectly but just picked it up and figured I needed to sprinkle a little bit of International Art English through this site.  Anyway, nice touch Callum.  A bit tricky, but I am sure it is one of those works that will have other artists wishing they had thought of it first.  Although as Richard Prince showed in court last week it is cool to steal, sorry appropriate!

Points:  3 to Andrew Liversidge for the One Thousand / Two Thousand.  2 to Tom Nicholson for the Palestine memorials and 1 to David Haines for the text superimposed on the quarry.  It looks like text heavy works have again scooped the Big Lamington pool, I think I am onto something ...

One last thing, I think this award could learn something from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am where, apart from the PGA event, they also run a teams event with a pro and an amateur playing as a team (Kerry Packer and the Shark won it back in the day).  Here I would give the prize to the best 'team' of artist and emerging artist.  That is, combined judging of how the artist and their nominee did together.  For mine, David Haines and Michaela Gleave would've taken that out this year.  You can see those works (and all the others) in the catalogue here.

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